Biden Administration Announces Support for Lifting Patent Protections on COVID-19 Vaccines
As countries like India and those in South America continue to struggle, the loosening of protections will help in their fight against the virus.
On Wednesday, the Biden administration announced that they will support the waiving of all intellectual property protections on COVID-19 vaccines, in an effort to aid countries around the world who are dealing with severe surges in cases of the disease.
The loosening of the protections will help to increase the global supply of doses.
The World Trade Organization has had a proposal to suspend the intellectual property protections in an effort to ramp up vaccine production, but the United States has been a leading opposer since it was introduced.
However, many congressional democrats have been increasing pressure on Biden to support the proposal.
Major Pharmaceutical and biotech companies have also been against it, but have now stated that they will help by increasing the supply of their vaccines.
The United States trade representative, Katherine Tai, made a statement Wednesday afternoon announcing the administration’s new position.
“This is a global health crisis, and the extraordinary circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures,” Tai said. “The administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for Covid-19 vaccines.”
In the coming weeks, India and South Africa, who originated the proposal, are expected to continue discussions as they prepare a revised plan for nations around the globe to consider.